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Biography
Albert “Skip” Rizzo is a Clinical and Neuro- Psychologist, and Director of the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies Medical VR Lab. He is also a research professor in both the USC Dept. of Psychiatry and in the School of Gerontology. Skip conducts research on the design, development and evaluation of VR systems targeting the areas of clinical assessment, treatment and rehabilitation. In the psychological domain, he has directed the development/implementation of the Virtual Iraq/Afghanistan VR exposure therapy system for combat-related PTSD and is involved in translating these simulation assets for PTSD assessment and prevention (stress resilience). His cognitive work has addressed the use of VR applications to test and train cognitive functioning. In the motor domain, he develops VR game-based applications to promote rehabilitation in persons with CNS dysfunction (e.g., stroke and TBI). He is also involved in the creation of artificially intelligent virtual human patients for clinical training and for creating online virtual human healthcare guides for breaking down barriers to care in psychological health and TBI. In 2010, he received the American Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Practice of Trauma Psychology for his R&D work on VR exposure therapy for PTS and in 2015 he received the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics “Pioneer in Medicine” award. He recently received American Psychological Association Society for Military Psychology (Division 19) Presidential Citation (2019) for his contributions to the study and treatment of PTSD using Virtual Reality. In his spare time, he plays rugby, listens to music, rides his motorcycle and thinks about new ways that VR can have a positive impact on clinical care by dragging the field of psychology, kickin’ and screamin’, into the 21st Century.